Mucho Macho Nachos

To help kick off the Apostle Islands 2016 sailing season over Memorial Day Weekend, Jim and Angele Passe, Great Lakes Cruising Club deputy port captains for Port Superior Marina and Pikes Bay Marina, invited GLCC members—and potential members—to a GLCC Happy Hour. They hosted the event at the Port Superior Clubhouse. Invitees were asked to bring an appetizer to share and their beverage of choice.

Julie and I immediately seized on the idea of a Mexican-inspired dish. We just happened to have a Costco-sized bag of tortilla strips on hand. For those of you who do not frequent Costco or some of the other warehouse shopping clubs, nothing you buy comes in small quantities. This bag of chips required a forklift to get it out of the warehouse and to the SUV, where we loaded it onto a U-Haul trailer. On arrival at Pikes Bay, we recruited half a dozen sailors and dockhands at the marina to get it aboard Gaviidae. We stashed the bag o’ chips in a portside locker, immediately setting our 37-foot, 19,000-lb. boat at a 30-degree list. After three weeks of living cattywampus, we decided the GLCC event was the perfect opportunity to reduce our stock of chips.

After a little last minute research, I found a promising recipe by celebrity chef Paula Deen on She called the recipe Macho Nachos. I figured that with her reputation for excess, something called Macho Nachos would be perfect in the quest to help right the boat.

I already had most of Paula Deen’s recipe ingredients on hand, but had to run to the store to get some cilantro—I was fresh out–and canned chili. I do not recall ever eating chili from a can in my adult life and approached the idea of buying canned chili with considerable trepidation. But I had neither the time nor the inclination to make a batch of my Paha Sapa Chili Grande. I bit the bullet and bought the chili.

Julie and I put this recipe together quickly in our galley, then marched it over to the PSM clubhouse a little late. Half of it was gone in about 15 minutes and all but a sliver was consumed by the 20 or sailors at the end of the happy hour. For some of us, the nacho appetizer was dinner. In short Macho Nachos were a hit.

They also put a dent in the bag of tortilla strips; the boat now only lists 20 degrees to port.

Mucho Macho Nachos
Mucho Macho Nachos

Mucho Macho Nachos

Course Appetizers
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Friends, GLCC, Recipe, Summer 2016
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 10 people or more
Author Daniel


  • 1 can refried beans
  • 1 large bag white or yellow corn tortilla chips
  • 1/2 medium onion chopped
  • 1 can chilli or your favorite chili recipe
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1 small can mild green peppers
  • 1 cup smoked corn salsa or Mexican corn blend
  • Cholula or Bufalo or similar Mexican hot sauce
  • 1/2 can jalapeno peppers chopped*
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives and/or green olives
  • Fresh cilantro to garnish


  • Have all the prepped ingredients easily accessible to assemble this nacho dish. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Warm refried beans in a small saucepan until they are soft enough to spoon across tortilla chips.
  • Spread a layer of tortilla chips across the bottom of a large, oven proof shallow pan or serving platter. Quickly distribute the warm refried beans across the chips.
  • Cover with a layer of chopped onions, a layer of cheese and then canned green peppers.
  • Spread Mexican hot sauce to taste.  Spoon a layer of chili, then top with cheese.
  • Repeat this layering process until ingredients are used up.
  • Place pan or platter in the oven ; bake 5-10 minutes to melt cheese and heat chili.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and place on a heatproof pad or trivet. Top nachos with sour cream, salsa, olives, jalapeno and cilantro. Serve hot with additional tortilla chips and Mexican sauce on the side.


Next time I make this, I will coat the bottom of the pan/platter with some oil, then lay refried beans across the bottom. Doing this should make it easier to dip the nachoes with tortilla chips.
* You can substitute the canned jalapenos with 1 fresh jalapeno, sliced crosswise, plus extra for garnish
For the original recipe, click here.

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